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Existential Meditations………Brett Myers

Brett Myers is a talented writer who recently started a blog, Surface Nuisance. He also likes to meditate

Rhododendrons. Brett Myers was surrounded by rhododendrons. Attached to slender, woody arms, their waxy, oblong leaves stroked his face as he descended. Thicker and thicker they grew, the peaty stink clung to his skin like earthy B.O.

He knew he should’ve taken the other fork in the trail, but that one followed the ridge line high. He took the under, hacking through the overgrowth and sliding ever downward. Is this even a trail? he wondered, slicing another branch with his machete. I didn’t come out here to blaze a trail. I just thought meditating at the base of a waterfall might be more fulfilling than closing my eyes at the peak of a view.

He wanted to hear something while his eyes were closed. Something besides the wind between his ears, the rustling of his hair. The gurgling explosion of water falling over rock – a symphony that would still his meditative mind. The mere act of imagining those million little cracks of sound could keep his mind blank for decades, maybe infinity. He only sought an hour, one hour alone in the woods at the base of falling water.

How many rhododendrons blocked his way? Thousands? 572? Infinite tendrils of overgrowth that, added together, spelled a frustrated day in the woods. He only heard his grunting as he worked, wiped dirty perspiration from his eyes, hoped every advance didn’t reveal a nest of yellow timber rattlers poised to strike. Behind him, the decomposed earth was perpendicular, ascending almost to heaven. How will I ever climb back out of this place? he wondered as he battled the next snaking batch of bush and vine.

He could hear water. Somewhere below. If he strained, he could see a gash in the earth just beside him, a yawning crevice that might devour him if he stepped a foot wrong. Rocks at the bottom seemed to become a cave, but the light through the leaves could be making that void seem real. He was too weary to care about the details.

Another series of slices, and his feet touched a muddy bottom. Whitewater gushed from left to right just a few feet ahead, broken by a block of granite that looked big enough to hold a man. He stumbled into the sun-warmed space and looked upstream. A wall of white liquid greeted him, broken by a dead tree. The rock at the base of a waterfall. The peaceful place he sought. The reason for his labors. With a quick glance toward the sliver of heaven above, he melted into the rock.

The last thing he remembered was the stilling cacophony, molecules of water, racing by him to become one with the sea.

Brett Myers writes a blog, Surface Nuisance. He lives in Summerville, South Carolina with his wife and son. For the number of posts by the Cootchie Mama, he played The Price is Right and undercut a guess with 572. Tomorrow, we will reveal the winner of this whacked little series.

The Biggest Bloggy Wedding Loser……..Tori Nelson

Blogger Tori Nelson is getting married next year and lets readers vote on all aspects of her big day at The Very Bloggy Wedding. Imagine the voting turns out like so:

Tori Nelson is in Savannah to get married. It wasn’t her choice. If she had her way, she would’ve run off with her fiance, whisked him away to somewhere – anywhere – but the Deep South. Her Bloggy Wedding Readers had other plans for her, though. Plans that included Spanish moss and sweeping trees and vows exchanged on a public square smack dab in the middle of downtown Savannah. The irony of its former glory as the capital of a prison colony is not lost on her. Maybe convicts once worked the very site her readers picked for her I Do’s, a patch of dirt between a clump of pink azaleas and the turf of a fire-and-brimstone-breathing Street Preacher, loudly proclaiming the End of the World.

There he is, the man she’s here to meet. The Proper Pastor her Bloggy Readers selected to preside over the whole affair. She contrasts his pressed seersucker suit, azure bow tie and white bucks with the Street Preacher’s sweaty arm pits, rolled-up sleeves and eruptions of spitting. At least, the voters made the more dignified selection for the 82 minutes of ceremony and reception that will usher in the Rest of My Life, she thinks to herself as she extends her petite hand to the waiting Proper Pastor. She has one of her Mmm-Bop moments, the warm buzz of Hanson that rushes through her nerve endings to assure her that everything will be just fine.

He smiles and reveals jagged, yellow teeth. One minor flaw, she thinks. Unfortunate, but not a deal-breaker. Through a rush of feeling, he reveals his one condition for performing the ceremony. “I won’t do it for pay, mind you. I’m not tacky like that. Good Lord, no.” Tori paralyzes her grin through this frenzy of words and blur of stripey sleeves, and wonders what his condition for waving his magic wand of marital legality will be.

“My dogs,” he says.

Her smile doesn’t budge. Her hands don’t move. She even keeps her happy eyes frozen when she says in her barely-taxed Southern drawl, “Pardon? I’m sorry, but I thought you just said something about your dogs.”

Turns out, he did mention dogs. His two petite Maltese jewels. The rays of sunshine in his aggrieved Proper Pastoral existence. “The dogs have to be attendants in the wedding,” he says with heat rising in his face. “And, they will arrive arrayed in suitable coiffure.”

A blistering vision of dollar store canine costumes flits through her flagging brain. Her readers didn’t vote on dolled-up wedding dogs. They selected jewelry and flowers and dresses – even the location and this obviously off-in-the-head churchman – how did HE slip through the cracks of her meticulous research – but they didn’t approve dogs. Or spangling adornments for dogs.

Before she can protest, he adds the final condition: “One must be dressed as _______ and the other as _______ (vote for the costumes for Tori’s Canine Ringbearers in your comment, Dear Reader), with each carrying a ring in a little pouch in their costumes. They will lend a most excellent Southern pomp to the whole affair.”

Seriously? Am I trapped, my wedding highjacked by the crazy dog man? Should I be a prisoner to the majority vote of innocent people who surely meant better for me than this kooky lunacy?

“Excuse me, Sir,” Tori says to the fire-and-brimstone-spewing Street Preacher, “by any chance do you perform weddings?”

“Why certainly, young lady,” the Street Preacher says with an impeccable picket of smile. “The World Won’t End on your wedding day.”

Tori Nelson is a fiancee, mother and blogger who lives in Jackson, Tennessee. Subscribe to her blog The Ramblings here and vote on The Very Bloggy Wedding details by following the link here. For the number of posts by the Cootchie Mama, she guessed 82. Tune in tomorrow for a whacked tribute to another runner-up.

The Girl With the Frozen Tattoo……Debbie Hennessy

Debbie Hennessy has family in Sweden. We had one pivotal conversation about Stockholm, leading to this cracked little story about our next runner-up.

Her breath expelled like solid smoke as Debbie Hennessy pounded through the blinding-white Gamla Stan snowfall. She was breathing hard, the trick combination of trying not to slip on the icy cobbles while staying in the lead. Nordic cold bit into her hands like a toothy wild animal, but she couldn’t think about that now.

He was behind her, and the rollicking beat of his gait told her he was gaining.

She could hear the gritty crunch of his shoes against the pockmarked pavement, could almost taste the frozen mist of his breathing on her tongue. Do uncovered ears process sound in sub-zero cold, or do they merely succumb to frostbite? His galloping pursuit reverberated in the pit of her chest and scissored through her lungs in what felt like 573 pinpricks to her core.

Around the next corner, a gloomy box of Swedish castle blocked the sightline to her ultimate destination. Armed guards bedecked in a blue excavated from the depths of a glacier patrolled the length of slope that dead ended in a river, its surface zig-zagged with ice and slush.

Crack!

Super-charged cold air rushed against her left ear. He’s shooting at me! 

CrackCrackCrack!

No time to turn around, to gauge how close he was. Instead, she willed her numb feet to skate down the incline to the railing that stopped her from plunging into an arctic liquid grave. She forced her sluggish eyes to scan the tundra of the urban landscape. There. The bridge. She had to cross that bridge, an insurmountable ribbon of steel and stone.

Along the water, the gale carved into her like a pick axe. With each inhale, she wondered whether her rib cage would refuse to expand, sealed in place until the spring thaw. Too late. He’d dispose of her long before then. If she stopped, she was finished. She was smarter than he was, but intelligence counted for nothing in a footrace with a Swedish demon.

Prismatic snow flakes clung to her eyelashes, pointed and curved uniqueness that obstructed her view of the place. It meant shelter. Warmth. Refusing to take her eyes from it through another round of staccato shocks that shattered the solid air, she ducked and dodged and danced her way to the impressive front door.

Will they let me in? she wondered as a seething volcanic heat worked to unsheathe her face.

“We’ve one table left, Madam. Would you like it?”

She sighed, and the pleasure rinsing through her melted her body, squashed her fear. She won. She was here first.

“Yes, please.”

There’s nothing like tea at the Grand Hotel Stockholm on a chilly day.

—————

Read more about Debbie Hennessy and her accounting services on her Linked In profile here, and friend her on Facebook here. For the number of posts written by the Cootchie Mama, she guessed 573. Tune in tomorrow for another whacked tribute to a runner-up. Winner to be announced later this week.

She Likes to Play Golf……Anne Howe!

Anne Howe likes to play golf. Imagine that today she finds herself in a coveted slot on Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course. Let’s hope our spying on her game doesn’t cause her to be too many strokes over par………….

If I could just be in Charleston instead of Michigan, I could play here all the time. Okay, well, maybe sometimes. Okay, a couple of times a year. I practically had to sell one of my daughters to get in this place. I wish someone were here with me. No one will believe I am TEN STROKES under par.

ANNE!

What? Don’t bother me right now. I’m in the middle of the game of my life on the course to end all courses. You’re messing up my mojo.

ANNE HOWE!!!

Why do you keep talking to me? Wait………WHO is talking to me? God, I knew I shouldn’t have had that extra glass of wine……….

ANNE…..

All right already! You’ve got my attention, screaming my name from some unseen place. You can come out now.

NO, I CAN’T. YOU MUST COME IN.

Come in? Uh-uh. I’m sinking putts I only dreamed about before. I even got a hole in one.

THAT’S WHY YOU MUST COME IN.

What??? A hole in one means I must come in? Is that what you’re saying? They don’t let people play through in this place when they get a hole in one?

YOU MISUNDERSTAND ME. YOU MUST COME IN. TO THE HOLE.

I really shouldn’t have had that extra glass of wine………

ANNE, DO YOU THINK PEOPLE COME HERE TO HIT A BALL?

Um, yeah. That’s what everyone seems to be doing.

NONSENSE. THOSE ARE THE UN-INITIATED. THEY DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE WARPED HOLES.

That sounds like a perversion…..Warped Holes……..will you please leave me alone and let me finish my game?

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE WARPED HOLES ARE THE REASON PEOPLE REALLY PLAY GOLF. COURSES LIKE THIS ONE REPRESENT CRACKS IN THE SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM. PEOPLE PAY BIG BUCKS TO JUMP DOWN HOLES AND END UP WHEREVER THEY PREFER SPENDING THE DAY – THE PLAYBOY MANSION, PERHAPS, OR A PRIVATE SCOTCH TASTING IN SCOTLAND, OR IN UNDETECTABLE ADULTEROUS LIAISONS. JUMPING IN THE HOLE CAN TAKE YOU ANYWHERE.

But, I don’t want to go anywhere else. Charleston is where I want to be. I spend as much time here as I possibly can.

I KNOW, ANNE. THAT’S WHY YOUR FIRST TASTE OF WARPED HOLES WILL SHOW YOU A PART OF CHARLESTON ONLY LOCALS FIND.

Really? You mean, I can be a Warp Holer right here? In Charleston?

YES!!!!!!!!!! JUST WAVE YOUR TOE OVER THE HOLE………..

Zip-zap-bloop-glurg-blonk-gork-slurp-boinketyboinketyboink.

I wonder how I can help package this concept to sell it. Think of the impact on the golf industry if more people knew they could experience hyperspace just by playing more golf! Hello? Are you still there?

SILENCE.

Okay, here goes. I’m going to plod up these steps and push open this heavy door and – ohmigod, I’m in a graveyard!? Why did you send me to a graveyard?

MORE SILENCE.

Magnolia Cemetery. And I’m alone. With, like, 595 graves. Is this going to turn into some sort of young adult paranormal fantasy love story next?? Am I going to fight with a zombie? Or be captured by vampires who can’t get along with werewolves?

STILL MORE SILENCE.

It’s quiet here. Peaceful actually. Hmmmmmm……..all right. I’m going exploring.

Read more about Anne Howe at her awesome blog on shopper marketing here, and follow her on Twitter @ShopperAnnie. For the number of posts written by the Cootchie Mama, she guessed 595. Tune in tomorrow for another whacked tribute to a runner-up. Winner to be announced later this week.

Forget About the Three Way. I’m All About the Four Way.

Last week was a wild week of writing for me. More than once, I thought my head was going to explode, sort of like Britney Spears in that Austin Powers movie, only I’d look nothing like Britney Spears in a cone bra that shoots bullets and platform knee boots. I didn’t sleep much, and MTM didn’t get much, but I wrote a series of which I’m dang proud. (If you missed it, click here to start the week-long essay at the beginning.)

Now, I’m going to break all rules of propriety and write about…….writing.

In case you’re relatively new around these parts, I’ve written a novel and am in the process of trying to get it published. Fiction is an interesting business these days. It means writing the whole book and begging people to invest in it by representing and publishing it. (With non-fiction, I could write thirty pages or so, complete an outline, and pitch the book through a book proposal. If nobody was interested, at least I didn’t write the whole freaking book.) (And, yes, I could self-publish. But, I want the validation of having someone believe in my book enough to invest in it.)

So, I’m begging a lot these days. I know rejection. And the words ‘not a project for me.’ It feels like a long slog of a theatrical audition, where I used to be required to sob, juggle, throw up, and kiss a man I’d never seen before, all in the span of five minutes. Over and over and over again.

Why should anybody care whether or not this book ever sees the light of day?

Well, I’ll tell you. It’s a character-driven love letter to an organization I passionately believe in. Rotary International is the back-up for much of the good that’s being done around the world right now. From clean drinking water to polio eradication to support for the obliteration of Alzheimer’s to sailing programs for disabled people to cultural exchange programs of all kinds – and that’s a sliver of a list – Rotary funds action for a better world, and Rotarians volunteer their time to carry out Rotary’s mission of living the Four Way Test. I hope the ultimate publication of my book will draw attention to Rotary charities and increase participation and funding for people-in-need around the world.

Several folks who read my novel told me that my writing on the blog did not represent that I could, in fact, write a novel. The writing was good but different. So, I decided to take last week to try to string together a narrative of sorts, one that answers the complicated question Why don’t you have children? I appreciate all of the supportive comments I received. Given some of the content, it was an emotional week for me. I plan to do more of that kind of writing in the coming weeks, but please give me a bit of a break to write some posts that are easier on me.

And, to let me get some sleep.

And, to let MTM get some.

Now, I owe everyone a post on the winner of the ‘how many posts has the Cootchie Mama written’ contest. We have a winner and a runner-up. I’m going to write my post about the runner-up tomorrow, so please tune in to see if my post is about YOU.

Too Much is Just Enough: Stretching Ourselves

 

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